A winter-annual of dry, open, sandy or gravelly places; also occasionally found as a casual, introduced with wool shoddy. Lowland.
M. minima is now less frequent on the coast due to habitat destruction and lack of grazing, allowing sites to become too rank for this low-growing species. It is now only rarely recorded as a casual.
Eurosiberian Southern-temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.
Light (Ellenberg): 9
Moisture (Ellenberg): 3
Reaction (Ellenberg): 7
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.9
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 16.5
Annual Precipitation (mm): 623
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 54
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 7
Atlas Change Index: -1.97
Scarce Atlas Account
Medicago minima (L.) L.
This plant grows on dry sandy heaths in Breckland and in open sandy or gravelly places on the coast. It is a plant of open low vegetation which tolerates little competition. In Breckland it is found on low banks, on road verges, disturbed ground by rabbit warrens and it sometimes grows in small quantity. Its associates include Achillea millefolium, Aphanes inexspectata, Arenaria serpyllifolia, Catapodium rigidum, Cerastium arvense, Erodium cicutarium, Galium verum and Rumex acetosella. It is frequently found recorded as a casual, often introduced with wool shoddy.
M. minima is an annual, reproducing entirely from seed, which germinates in the autumn (Trist 1979).
It is still frequent in the Breckland, and in open places around the coast, but it is decreasing where lack of grazing has allowed its habitats to become more rank.
It is widespread in Europe, as far north as Britain and Denmark, and also found in Asia, Africa and parts of the New World.
D. A. Pearman
PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.